KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran Umno politician Shahrir Abd Samad today pleaded not guilty to a money laundering charge at the Sessions Court here over RM1 million he received from former prime minister Najib Razak.
The former Felda chairman is accused of failing to declare the amount in his tax returns for the year 2013.
According to the charge under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, or Amla, Shahrir deposited the cheque from Najib into his bank account on Nov 28, 2013.
He faces a jail sentence of between five and 15 years, a RM5 million fine or five times the sum of the illegal proceeds.
Shahrir came to the court today accompanied by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Ahmad Maslan.
Ahmad Maslan, the Pontian MP, was charged separately under the same law, but with an additional charge of giving false information to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Shahrir and Ahmad were among 80 individuals and organisations named by MACC for receiving over RM420 million from Najib. MACC said the funds were from 1MDB.
The anti-graft body had issued compound notices to them, demanding them to return the monies.
Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set RM350,000 as bail in one surety for Shahrir. She also ordered him to surrender his passport to the court pending disposal of his money laundering case.
The court set Feb 24 to mention the case again.
Shahrir’s lawyer Syahrul Shazwan Salehudin had earlier told the court that the bail amount of RM500,000 sought by deputy public prosecutor Norzilati Izhani Zainal @ Zainol was too high.
He added that investigations were launched in 2018 and that Shahrir had given his full cooperation to the authorities during this period.
Ahmad, Shahrir and Puteri Umno had previously filed judicial reviews to challenge the MACC compound notices against them on Oct 7, 2019, claiming these were null and void.
The High Court will hear their applications to initiate judicial review against MACC.